Hinkson’s debut Hell on Church Street is the story told by Geoffrey Webb, a con-man possessed of a limited, but specialized skill-set. He’s worked his way into a cushy gig as the youth pastor of a small Southern Baptist Church in Arkansas, a role he can play in his sleep. He knows what’s expected of him and he delivers without any bigger plans, which would only complicate things, until he becomes obsessed with the pastor’s teenage daughter, and his ambition is unlocked. He dreams a dream and makes a plan which he puts into play a step at a time.
As will happen when the status quo is busted up, the inner workings of the social machine are exposed and Geoffrey finds that his actions haven’t merely risked him losing his comfortable job and position, but that he’s upset the plans of some ruthless local gangsters (some who wear badges) and now he must fix it, or else.
Here’re some of the virtues that Hell on Church Street shares with those classic hardboiled pulps of yesteryear:
EDITORIAL NOTE: the following virtues I praised about Hell on Church Street extend to all of Hinkson's subsequent works
And brothers and sisters, I finished it. Quick. Like in two savage late-night sessions, that easily could’ve been one, but for the vino. And I’m wondering now, what’s the deal with those guys at New Pulp Press and their nexus of crime and church fascination? In the last year they also released Heath Lowrance’s The Bastard Hand and Jesus Angel Garcia’s Badbadbad. They’re carving out their own special niche in crime publishing here.
If Hell on Church Street is any indication, Jake Hinkson has got some sharp, nasty chops, and I'll be first in line for his next one.
Catch up with him at his website and prepare for his collection of essays coming soon!